One in six professional footballers based outside their home country says he has faced discrimination, according to FIFPro research, supporting comments by Ghanaian footballer Sulley Muntari that racism is entrenched in the game.
Muntari received a yellow card for protesting to the referee who did not react to racist abuse from fans during a match between Pescara and Cagliari in Italy’s Serie A. Muntari got a second yellow card for walking off the pitch in protest.
Muntari said that he wants players to speak out about the abuse. There were more cases of discrimination against foreign players at the weekend: Colombian defender Frank Fabra, who plays for Boca Juniors in Argentina, was the victim of racial abuse from supporters of Estudiantes. Nigerian players Daniel Adejo and Giulio Ebagua were targeted by fans of Hellas Verona while playing for Vicenza in Italy’s Serie B.
“There are a lot of people going through this kind of issue and I decided not to sleep on it as on previous occasions,” Muntari said. “I am hoping we can fight it. We need to come together. We need to build a strong team that can fight this disease, that’s what I call it. It is a disease.”
Other players “should stand up for their rights, they shouldn’t be afraid to speak. If you don’t speak, then your opponent, whoever is abusing you, is winning and you are losing. You don’t have to lose because you are strong, you are amazing.”
The FIFPro survey of 14000 players in 54 countries found 17.2 percent who play for clubs abroad have experienced racism, xenophobia or other forms of discrimination. The research conducted in collaboration with the University of Manchester is part of the most extensive global survey of footballers ever undertaken.
“Maybe my cup was full and I couldn’t take it anymore,”Muntari said. “Racial abuse is there and I am not going to keep quiet about it.”
Source: 2016 FIFPro Global Employment Report